Kampot – a charming riverside town

imageKampot is described as a small riverside town. In my head I pictured Luneburg Nova Scotia, or Galway, Ireland. I was told 40000 people, my first impression was this is a big, busy, riverside city but as you walk around, sit in a cafe reading, the city vibe disappears. It is more relaxed, the pace slower and people even more friendly. I didn’t have a place to stay so had looked up places on the web and came across the Kampot Pie and Ice Cream Palace, co owned by a Canadian and supposedly the best Lemon Meringue Pie around. Which I can now attest to. I thought all that together, and especially the name it was fate so off I went, my first night was in a shot off house and it was a bit clinical but quiet and clean and I had one of the best sleeps I have had since arriving here. The next night I shared a room with a girl I had met the day before to cut costs so it worked out well.

Temples, caves & the sea

Our Tuk Tuk driver/tour guide, Chase, took us around for the two days we spent in Kampot and while our destinations were interesting it was the roads and people we met along the way that made the tours. Our first stop was Phnom Chhork temple cave. A forty minute drive into the countryside of Kampot down roads which I wouldn’t constitute as roads. They were more back road trails, at one point being asked to get out of the tuk tuk and walk up the hill. He would meet us at the top ; this would be more comfortable for us. Passing a cow as we walked we joked that we could end up riding the cow back to Kampot.

The temple is one of the oldest in Cambodia and lies at the mouth of a rather deep cave. Our tour guides for this adventure were three local children, looking for the extra money, and soaking up our English along the way. One little girl and two little boys. They were witty, funny and extremely proficient at English, enjoying copying our exclamations at the sights – wow, ahhh, oh my gosh and sharing others they had learned from other tourists. They and the route they took us through the back of the cave was the highlight. Nothing like a little cave scrambling in the dark with some bats thrown in. The bats kindly stayed on or near the ceiling but the smell of guano was super strong.

From there we headed to the sea! One of my favourite things. We stopped for dinner at the Kep crab market. Fresh fish, sting ray, crabs grilled to perfection, obviously I had to try the local fare and tucked not that daintily into two crabs after being shown how to attack. After our fill we headed to the beach, past the giant crab, to put our toes into the sea.

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